Today in Sports History: November 16th

11/16/1957 - OU's 47-game winning streak snaps

On the 50th anniversary of Oklahoma's admission into the United States, an un-ranked Notre Dame team pulls off one of the greatest spoilers in college football. The Fighting Irish defeated the Sooners 7-0, ending Oklahoma's 47-game win streak. Oklahoma had scored in 123 straight games and was poised to win its third straight national championship.

Oklahoma's winning streak remains the longest in NCAA history. In order for a team to surpass that mark, that team would most likely have to win three straight national titles, something that hasn't happened since the 1930's.

Notably, the SI Jinx was in full effect that day. Sports Illustrated had just released it's latest issue, prophetically titled, "Why Oklahoma is Unbeatable." The magazine reasoned, "(They have) won three national titles, including 1955 and 1956 and will most likely win the third consecutive title this year."

11/16/1996 - Sabres scoreboard collapses

Hours before the Buffalo Sabres are to host the Boston Bruins, the $4 million scoreboard at Marine Midland Arena crashes to the ice. Routine maintenance was being performed when one of the monitor's cables loosened, sending the 40,000-pound object to the floor. Fortunately no one was on the ice. The game between the Sabres and Bruins was postponed, as were several other sporting events that were to be played at the stadium.

The Sabres would continue playing at Marine Midland Arena (later known as HSBC Arena), though temporarily without a scoreboard above them.


(The scoreboard says it all. Photo by Scott Boehm, Getty Images)

11/16/2008 - To McNabb's surprise, game ends in tie

In a critical Week 11 game against the 1-8 Cincinnati Bengals, the Philadelphia Eagles -- in contention for the NFC wildcard spot -- fail to come away with the victory. Instead, with neither team scoring in the 15-minute sudden death overtime, the game ended in a 13-13 draw; it was the first tie in the NFL since 2002 and was just the 17th tie in NFL history.

For fans of the 5-4-1 Eagles, tying with the second-worst team in the league was a tough pill to swallow. However, Philadelphia's draw was made all the more embarrassing when after the game, 10-year quarterback Donovan McNabb admitted he had no idea the tie rule had been in effect since 1974. "I didn't know that," said McNabb, who had expected the game to continue on until a winner was decided. "I've never been part of a tie. I never even knew it was in the rule book. I was looking forward to getting the opportunity to get out there and try to drive to win the game. But unfortunately with the rules, we settled with a tie."

McNabb's comment left him hounded by the press, who couldn't believe he was unaware of the game situation. And since he may have lacked the urgency needed in a sudden death period, some wondered if his lack of understanding was the primary source of the Eagles' outcome. Due to the controversy of his statement, the NFL later made it a rule that before each overtime coin flip, the head referee would announce that the game could end in a tie (unless it was a postseason game).

The faux pas came at a particularly bad time for McNabb, who was rumored to be on the way out in 2009. The following week, McNabb was benched at halftime of a game against the Baltimore Ravens; McNabb had completed only eight of 18 passes and had already thrown a pair of interceptions. McNabb's replacement, Kevin Kolb, struggled mightily, and the Eagles were crushed, 34-7. At that moment, the Eagles were 5-5-1 -- McNabb's future in Philadelphia, as well as the Eagles' playoff chances, were at an impasse.

However, the Eagles turned it around at precisely the right time. McNabb started the rest of the season, and the Eagles finished the year with four wins in their last five games. In Week 17, Philadelphia annhilated the Dallas Cowboys, ending both Terrell Owens' career in Dallas and giving the Eagles a playoff birth. Philadelphia advanced all the way to the NFC Championship Game, where they lost a close one to the Arizona Cardinals. In the offseason, McNabb was handed a healthy contract extension.

Further reading:

A Day That Will Live in Infamy in Oklahoma [Huff Post]

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